Boski Sits Down With The Real 'Knish'

2 months ago
Boski Sits Down With The Real 'Knish'
16:16
18 Apr

Jeff Boski continues his series of interviews for the PokerTube Youtube channel (click like and subscribe guys), with a session of picking the brains of Vegas cash game pro Michael ‘Knish’ Atkinson. Although how exactly he picked up the reputation for being a real life version of Rounders’s Knish is glossed over – Knish the pragmatic grinder who teaches Matt Damon’s all the life lessons he needed to avoid getting caught up in the movie’s plot; but the connections are clear: Atkinson is a teacher – coaching poker players in Vegas – and a cash game grinder with plenty of advice most of which is centered firmly around keeping one’s head.

"If the game has changed to where it’s not a good game," Atkinson says. "You’re either tired or not playing your A-game. Any of those three reasons I would honestly, seriously say, 'Go look for a different game, or go home for the night.’"


His advice comes from a position of authority have played since he was nineteen back when ‘no-limit was nonexistent’ and seven card stud was the main game. He turned pro at twenty-two and eventually moved to Vegas a few years later in 1999, after – by an odd coincidence – surviving the exact same type of cancer that Doyle Brunson had his own mid-life epiphany over.

As well as the game itself, Atkinson also worked at helping set up the Wynn poker room and as a prop-player there, before taking up coaching as a side gig.


Boski leads the interview, and the two Vegas pros talk about topics ranging from how cash games allow you to dodge tax to the best times of year to play. Atkinson gives advice on what software to use at the table, how best to train yourself to play, and the importance of discipline and bankroll management.

Perhaps his most interesting snippet of advice is the suggestion that we should all do our part to keep the game fun by taking the time to chat with the recreational players at the table. As Boski concurs saying:

"Talk to them as a person, not just as a fish you’re looking to skin."

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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more

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